As part of your job, you may need to travel. I hope that the following information is helpful to you in such cases. Most likely, as you read, you will say yourself, about me, “this guy has been watching too many James Bond movies.”
Taking a taxi
Generally speaking, regardless of the city, a legitimate taxi will display a taxi driver license with at least the name and photo of the driver. Usually this license will be posted behind the driver’s seat or the front passenger seat, so that passengers in the rear can view it. Making sure that the driver really is the driver is a sensible step. This idea also applies if, instead of taking a taxi, the organization you are visiting says they will send a driver for you, for example to meet you at the airport. In such a case, try to verify the name of the car service and at least the name of the driver. Even better, try to get a photograph of the driver. In either case, failing to verify the driver might leave you in the same situation as James Bond. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Wq3ZHsKP8
As soon as possible, make sure the taxi driver knows that someone else knows about you and the taxi you are in. The best way is simply to make a telephone call from the taxi to someone, in which you tell that person your location, your destination, the taxi number and the name of the driver. When you speak, do so loudly enough so the driver can hear you. In this way, the driver is more likely to be dissuaded from any wrong intentions.
Whether you are on business travel or not, never be reluctant to take a taxi to go home if your work requires you to work late. This advice applies especially if your work can be charged to a client of your employer, and if you normally would take public transportation home. That client should understand that a taxi fare is a reasonable part of asking you to work late. Of course, the best approach is to speak to your boss or the client ahead of time about such a possibility.
Staying in a hotel
When you check into a hotel, the front desk person will give you your room number along with a key. However, that room number information should come via a written note, or by a computer printout. In no event should the front desk person say your room number out loud. Nonetheless, if the person should do so, you might want to quietly ask for another room, and this time to get the number as described above.
When you get to your room, look for at least two fire exits. Think about how easily you could get to them in darkness, because when a fire occurs, electricity in a building could fail. In fact, you might even consider testing yourself by blindfolding yourself to see if you nonetheless can reach a fire exit.
Because of this possibility of a power failure, consider bringing a flashlight, or else at least make sure your phone has a flashlight app. If you choose the traditional flashlight I recommend the Mini Maglite http://www.maglite.com/AA_Cell_LED.asp. This flashlight is well made, compact and light. In addition to merely providing light, however, it can double as a weapon because of the hard casing it has. That is, if need be, you can hit an attacker with it. Also, I have taken it with me on airplanes, in carry-on luggage, and I have never been questioned about it.
Driving a rental car
A few years ago, rental car drivers in Miami were facing a high number of carjackings and attacks. The criminals were drawn by stickers or decals that such cars had, identifying the car as a rental. As a result, rental car companies there stopped this practice, and most likely this practice has spread. Still, you might want to make sure by checking the car yourself as you are picking it up. If you should see such a sticker or decal, ask about having it removed.
Similarly, try to get, if possible, a car with an in-state license tag. Having one from out-of-state makes you more conspicuous, even if the car doesn’t otherwise indicate it is a rental.
Take time to make sure that the car’s registration and inspection information is current. Generally speaking, each state has a system and procedure for doing so, and will have some sort of decal on the license or on the windshield, along with a month and year of expiration. Yes, the car rental company staff should have made sure, but sometimes mistakes happen, and one such mistake came at my expense.
A few years ago, I was driving a rental car in Washington DC. One afternoon, I was making a turn from westbound Virginia Avenue onto northbound New Hampshire Avenue, in the vicinity of The George Washington University. Suddenly I saw red and blue flashing lights of a police car, and pulled over. The officer told me that the license tags on the car were expired, and was making comments about my potentially having to be detained. However, after viewing my car rental documents, he simply allowed me to leave.
When I returned the car, I asked for and received a steep discount.
One final note regarding cars: for reasons that will be clear to you from this video, I dislike sitting in a car if someone is sitting behind me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wit1vpOXftg
I hope this information is helpful to you.
The above information does not constitute legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship. The author does not guarantee that this information will be effective in any given situation.
Calvin Sun, Attorney at Law, 610-296-3947, firstname.lastname@example.org